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Diabetes Cases Expected to Double in 25 Years
Date:11/27/2009

Soaring rates to bring unprecedented medical, economic burdens, study predicts

FRIDAY, Nov. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The number of people with diabetes in the United States is expected to double over the next 25 years, a new study predicts.

That would bring the total by 2034 to about 44.1 million people with the disease, up from 23.7 million today.

At the same time, the cost of treating people with diabetes will triple, the study also warns, rising from an estimated $113 billion in 2009 to $336 billion in 2034.

One factor driving the soaring costs: the number of people living with diabetes for lengthy periods, the researchers said. Over time, the cost of caring for someone with diabetes tends to rise along with their risk for developing complications, such as end-stage renal disease, which requires dialysis.

"We believe our model provides a more precise estimate of what the population size will look like and what it will cost the country and government programs like Medicare," said study author Dr. Elbert Huang, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

Prior forecasts, including the ones currently used by the federal government's budget analysts, have underestimated the burden, the researchers said. A 1991 study, for example, predicted that 11.6 million people would have diabetes in 2030. In 2009, there were already more than twice that many living with diabetes.

"In a similar way, we may be underestimating what's happening, which is actually very disturbing," Huang said.

Among Medicare beneficiaries, the number with diabetes is expected to rise from 8.2 million to 14.6 million in 2034, with an accompanying rise in spending from $45 billion to $171 billion.

"That essentially means that in 2034, half of all direct spending on diabetes care will be coming from the Medicare population," Huang said.

The study is published in the Decembe
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